Today Chris shares with us a story about helping others find value in their lives even when the world has told them they are worthless. If you’ve never heard Chris share his story about his time fighting Human Trafficking, you’ve likely never heard about the work he was able to do with Cassie Hammett. The two helped turn around countless lives and save even more.
This story is special and powerful. So I’ll step aside and let my friend tell his tale.
Verses 7-11 of chapter eight of the Book of John state: 7 “When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
The worst thing a Christian can do is devalue another person. This act harms the success of the Great Commission, the church body, and the individual Christian witness to someone. To devalue another human being will not inspire others as you share your beliefs in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
I must confess, though, that I did indeed devalue people during my 19 years of law enforcement. This happened a lot, especially early in my career, and more specifically with violent offenders. About 11 years in, I was assigned as the Lead FBI Agent for the Northwest Louisiana FBI Human Trafficking Task Force. When this happened, I began dealing with literally hundreds and thousands of prostitutes. Many of these women were forced into sex industry and some were willing participants who did it for the money.
Over the eight years that I lead this task force, we would average, per year, the arrest/recovery of over 300 prostitutes/pimps and over 15 recovered juveniles. These children had been forced into the sex industry at very young ages. Yes, in our Shreveport/Bossier area we would recover approximately 15 of these juveniles each year. Unfortunately, we do not recover them all. Think about that. All those young people lost to that horrible world.
During that time, the youngest juvenile I recovered was 14 years old, and we recovered well over a hundred under the age of 18. At first it was so easy to devalue these people’s lives, who they were, where they came from, and judge the sin in their lives as uglier than my own sin.
Early into the building of this Task Force, GOD put me in the path of Cassie Hammett, a seriously courageous bold soldier in our living GOD’S army. Cassie founded a ministry called “PURCHASED,” and she had me at hello when she told me the reason she called her ministry what she did.
“Chris, these girls cannot be purchased because they have already been purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ,” she told me, and I immediately asked Cassie to be a part of this task force and she was the first ever non-government employee, non-law enforcement, non-gun toting person to ever be a part of this type of government task force.
The stories of these women are terrible and sad and way too many to tell. They are heart-breaking, horrific, demonic tragedies, but some had happy endings. They became happy, renewed, and most importantly – they became believers in our JESUS. Cassie literally taught me how to not devalue people and their souls, which are no dirtier than my own. While in hotel rooms on sting operations, I was able to speak to these ladies about their lives and our LIVING GOD.
One day I arrested an older lady, about 45, who had greatly exceeded the average life span of a prostitute. She wasn’t a believer in the Way and worked independently of anyone – especially pimps. At the time we spoke, there was no talking her out of that lifestyle. I did, however, not devalue her life and decisions, and after she was released from jail, I continued to send Bible verses and short devotionals about our Jesus to her.
Sometimes I wouldn’t hear from her for long periods of time, and sometimes she might say hello back or something short, but she never dropped the phone number nor told me to stop communicating with her. Then in January 2021, I received the following text message from this lady:
“I wanted to take the time to let you know how important you are to me. I love you and owe you a lot. I have been out of the business now for a year. I could not have done this without your love and support. It’s not been easy to stay out, however, I remember the bible verses you have sent me over the last 5 years 8 months 15 days and 17 mins, since we met, and I got my only set of silver bracelets, man were they ugly. I hope you pick out better jewelry for your wife.”
We must all begin truly loving people like Jesus did the women in Luke 7: 36-50. In this story, notice how the religious leader devalued the women while our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Messiah, loved the women. Try truly loving people like Jesus did and see how your witness grows.
Don’t Give Up, Givem Jesus!!!!
(Chris Plants is a founding member of Webster Parish Men of Courage. Their mission is to encourage, equip, and empower the Men of God to become spiritual leaders in their home, local church, community, and workplace. Webster Parish is now home to a Women of Courage chapter as well as Families of Courage.)
(Josh Beavers is an award-winning journalist who has five times been recognized for excellence in opinion writing by the Louisiana Press Association. At one time, he was editor of The Good News, a weekly publication that shared information about local churches and men and women of God.
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